Jerwood Open Forest commission totalling £30,000 is awarded to Keith Harrison

November 28, 2016

Artist Keith Harrison has been awarded a major £30,000 commission through the 2016 edition of Jerwood Open Forest; established by Forestry Commission England and Jerwood Charitable Foundation, with support from Arts Council England. The project seeks to contribute to a national discussion around how contemporary artists engage with the environment today, presenting forests as a rich and immersive platform for bold and ambitious works.

Keith Harrison’s project Joyride will be realised at Cannock Chase Forest in Autumn 2017 where he will ceremonially release a clay replica of a Rover 75 down a specially constructed roller coaster style ramp, providing a pertinent commentary on the rise and fall of car manufacturing in the area. Inspired by Harrison’s upbringing in the heavily post-industrialised Black Country, the performative sculpture will bring together industrial and recreational forces within the forest, aligning the urban and natural environment on a monumental scale. Both relevant and reminiscent, Joyride frames the rich and historical relationship between car and landscape in a contemporary context, through which it has the potential to resonate and engage with an extremely diverse audience.

‘The opportunity to realise a project which links the former Rover factory at Longbridge, Birmingham where my mother and grandfather worked and Cannock Chase, a wilderness we visited regularly as a family whilst growing up in the Black Country is immense. The work will see the social and environmental impact of the car in forests and the demise of automotive manufacture collide.’ Keith Harrison

The winning commission was selected by a panel of leading practitioners and project partners including: Katherine Clarke, artist and founding partner of muf architecture/art; Neville Gabie, artist; Shonagh Manson, Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation; Hayley Skipper, National Arts Development Programme Manager, Forestry Commission England and Dr Joy Sleeman, writer, curator and lecturer.

 ‘Keith has demonstrated an uncompromisingly strong artistic vision throughout the development of his proposal. His investment in research, technical considerations and palpable connection with both the chosen site and themes being explored have been unwavering. We are very much looking forward to working on realising this ambitious project with Keith.Hayley Skipper, National Arts Development Programme Manager, Forestry Commission England

Born in West Bromwich in the Black Country, Keith Harrison studied Ceramics at Cardiff School of Art and Design before completing his MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art in 2002. He has exhibited widely across the UK and realised large-scale works for public galleries and Museums including the V&A, Camden Arts Centre and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. In 2011, Harrison exhibited multimedia installation Float at Jerwood Space, London, commissioned as part of the biennial initiative Jerwood Makers Open.

The Jerwood Open Forest exhibition continues at Jerwood Space, London until 11 December.

Images (from top): Keith Harrison, Jerwood Open Forest exhibition 2016. Photo © Hydar Dewachi; Keith Harrison, Joyride, Research and Development drawing, Jerwood Open Forest 2016, courtesy of the artist; Keith Harrison with a prototype of Joyride at Cannock Chase Forest, film still © Steve Gammond; Keith Harrison’s prototype of Joyride, film still © Steve Gammond; aerial plan of Joyride event site, courtesy of the artist.

 

 

Keith Harrison discusses Joyride, a film by Steve Gammond.